Great fishing options despite dry times
  |  First Published: June 2016

Our region is in desperate need of rain. Most of our waterways are in dire straits and at least two big rain events will be needed just to put a halt on water loss.

Lake Elingamite continues to recede and an estimated 200mm of rainfall would be required now just to turn this around. Luckily, only several hundred browns were released last year as opposed to several thousand trout that is the norm, as there would simply be a distinct lack of space in what’s left for them all to exist.

Mount Emu Creek has become a stagnant chain of pools and I seriously doubt if there are any trout left in the system at all.

This is all rather depressing at the moment, but at least there is still something being caught down our way on the freshwater scene. Lake Purrumbete currently sees the redfin schooling up in deep water in preparation for spawning. Although these fish are small due to stunting caused by overpopulation, anglers are catching cricket scores of them.

The schooling fish are holding in and around 10m and can be easily identified on a depth sounder. By simply using a whiting rig baited up with garden worms, you can catch many of these fish in a single session. Remember not to return a single reddy back into the lake, as these fish seriously need to be culled. That’s what the local angling club is trying for, but they are coming up against a wall of bureaucracy from various government bodies.

The odd brown and rainbow measuring over 50cm has been caught but these salmonoids are a tad on the skinny side thanks to all the redfin adding competitive pressure on the existing food stocks.

Lake Bullen Merri has seen many rainbows move into the shallows, which means they are more excusable to bank anglers and boaters who do not practice downrigging. As the weather continues to cool, Chinook salmon and brown trout will no doubt follow suit.

The lake currently boasts a very healthy population of large minnow and bullheads and the trout are gorging on these, which means they are not easy to catch, especially on lures.

However, some anglers are doing very well. Recently, Shane Stevens from Ballarat paid a visit with his two sons Max and Zach and they caught their fair share of plump rainbows trolling Double Clutch and orange Rapala lures in depths around 4-5m. Well done, guys!

Photo courtesy of Shane Stevens.

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